La Fortaleza, San Juan

La Fortaleza, San Juan (must see)

La Fortaleza, or the Fortress, is the current official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico. It was built between 1533 and 1540 to defend the harbor of San Juan. It is the oldest executive mansion in the New World. It was listed by UNESCO in 1983 as a World Heritage Site. During the 1640 reconstruction, the chapel of Santa Catalina, then located outside the walls, was demolished and was integrated into it, which gave rise to another name for which it is known, Palacio de Santa Catalina.

La Fortaleza was the first defensive fortification built for the city of San Juan, and the first of a series of military structures built to protect the city which included the Fort San Felipe del Morro and the Fort San Cristóbal. The fortress underwent a massive reconstruction in 1846 to change its military appearance into a palatial facade. La Fortaleza has been the residence of more than 170 governors of Puerto Rico and has hosted various dignitaries, including President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy who stayed in La Fortaleza in 1961. The construction was authorized by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor as a defense against attacks from Carib Indians and the European powers of the time. At present, the complex consists of a few attached buildings with formal living quarters in the second floor, and private quarters in the third. It overlooks the high city walls that front the bay, and within the north perimeter of the house are sheltered gardens and a swimming pool.
Sight description based on wikipedia

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of San Juan, Puerto Rico within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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La Fortaleza on Map

Sight Name: La Fortaleza
Sight Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Create Your Own Walk in San Juan

Create Your Own Walk in San Juan

Creating your own self-guided walk in San Juan is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave San Juan without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to San Juan, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
East Old San Juan Walking Tour

East Old San Juan Walking Tour

East Old San Juan is a popular tourist area that is home to several interesting historical sites, including Castillo de San Cristóbal, El Capitolio, Casa De España and Monumento de la Recordación Take the following tour to discover the fascinating attractions located in Old San Juan’s east end!

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
East San Juan Walking Tour

East San Juan Walking Tour

East San Juan contains many great attractions, including San Gerónimo Fort, Parque Luis Muñoz Rivera, beautiful statues and the best art galleries and museums. Take the following tour to discover the most interesting places in San Juan's east end!

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 Km or 3 Miles
San Juan Art Museums And Galleries Walking Tour

San Juan Art Museums And Galleries Walking Tour

San Juan is a great place to learn more about American, Caribbean, Latin American and Puerto Rican art. It has a vast range of interesting museums and excellent galleries, featuring fine works by talented international and local artists. Check out San Juan’s most popular and outstanding art museums and galleries in this walking tour!

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Old San Juan Walk

Old San Juan Walk

San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, is a lovely historic city with a wealth of colorful Spanish colonial architecture. The most notable landmarks include 16th-century El Morro and La Fortaleza fortresses, rising above the ocean, and the Paseo de la Princesa bayside promenade. To explore San Juan's most prominent sights, follow this orientation walk.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 Km or 2.9 Miles
San Juan Historic Buildings Self-Guided Tour

San Juan Historic Buildings Self-Guided Tour

San Juan proudly features the country’s oldest quarters and historic buildings. In addition to containing the oldest occupied residence in the Western Hemisphere, visitors can also admire the old City Hall, the Cristo Chapel, Convento de los Dominicos, historic El Arsenal and many other fascinating attractions. Take the following tour to see the most popular and famous historic buildings in San...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


13 Distinctively Puerto Rican Goods to Bring Home from San Juan

13 Distinctively Puerto Rican Goods to Bring Home from San Juan

The uniqueness of Puerto Rico is partially associated with its political status - part of the United States yet with a Latin twist. Other than their widely-acknowledged musical talents, e.g. Carlos Santana and Ricky Martin, Puerto Rico is just as rich in many other good things. When you're in...